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Off to the races: This means (civil) war

“A conservative group is unveiling a new report blasting parts of the Republican National Committee’s 2012 autopsy and arguing that the GOP should stand strong on social issues while repackaging its economic message,” Politico writes. “‘We believe the conventional explanation emerging from the Republican National Committee’s ‘autopsy’ report gets the core issues exactly wrong,’ reads the report from American Principles in Action, a conservative advocacy group. ‘Accepting this emerging conventional wisdom will, in our view, likely consign the GOP to a permanent minority status.’”

Beth Reinhard: “It took a tea party insurrection that disabled the federal government and wrecked the Republican brand, but after months of handwringing, establishment Republicans are preparing to attack ultra-conservative ideologues across red America. From Alabama to Alaska, the center-right, business-oriented wing of the Republican Party is gearing up for a series of skirmishes that it hopes can prevent the 2014 mid-term election from turning into another missed opportunity. But this will not be a coordinated operation. It will be messy, ugly, and prone to backfiring. And if the comeback succeeds, it will be in fits and starts, most likely culminating in the selection of a presidential nominee in 2016. ‘Hopefully we'll go into eight to 10 races and beat the snot out of them,’ said former Rep. Steve LaTourette of Ohio, whose new political group, Defending Main Street, aims to raise $8 million to fend off tea party challenges against more mainstream Republican incumbents. ‘We're going to be very aggressive and we're going to get in their faces.’”

ALABAMA: Jessica Taylor writes for The Daily Rundown on one such divisive primary race in Alabama. "The proxy fight is a special primary runoff in the state’s 1st Congressional District, where establishment-backed Bradley Byrne and Tea Party insurgent Dean Young are vying to succeed former GOP Rep. Jo Bonner, who resigned from Congress in August to take a job with the University of Alabama. The contest may show how harshly voters are–or aren’t–blaming the Tea Party for the shutdown, and whether the Republican establishment can–or can’t–successfully push back on the party’s extreme-right base....'If the establishment wins in South Alabama in a special election, the Tea Party is in serious, serious trouble,' Young told NBC."

ALASKA: Could this environmental issue impact next year’s Senate race in Alaska? The environmental group Bristol Bay United is up with a very large TV ad buy (a source tells us 1,000 points per week for several weeks) opposing the Pebble Mine project near Bristol Bay.

MONTANA:Roll Call: “Rep. Steve Daines, one of the last remaining 2014 Senate recruit holdouts, is expected to announce his decision by the end of this year, according to a Montana Republican source familiar with his thinking.”

Politico: "Lt. Gov. John Walsh, the Democratic candidate for Senate, has hired several veterans of Sen. Jon Tester’s successful 2012 reelection campaign for his own team. This helps gives the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee confidence that the former leader of the Montana National Guard can keep the race for the seat being given up by retiring Sen. Max Baucus (D) competitive."